Major breakthrough in clinical trials of anti-EBOLA drugs

New Ebola Vaccine Introduced in DRC

New Ebola Vaccine Introduced in DRC

Two experimental Ebola treatments significantly increase survival rates for those infected with a disease often considered a death sentence, scientists announced Monday, providing fresh hope for containing an outbreak that has ravaged eastern Congo.

REGN-EB3 is a three-antibody cocktail created to tamp down the development of mutations in Ebola that lead to drug resistance, while mAb114 is a monoclonal antibody based on an antibody found in the blood of a patient who had survived an earlier Ebola epidemic in Congo. Patients receive them once, intravenously, and "ideally, as soon as possible" after infection, Fauci said.

The monoclonal antibody cocktail produced by a company called Regeneron Pharmaceuticals had the biggest impact on lowering death rates, down to 29 per cent, while NIAID's monoclonal antibody, called mAb114, had a mortality rate of 34 per cent.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which co-sponsored the trial, were pleased with the results. He said, "From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable".

The results were more striking for patients with a low viral load in their blood: more than 90 percent survived while taking either REGN-EB3 or mAb114, provided they got treatment early.

The drug ZMapp along with remdesirir have been dropped after two other drugs were found to be more effective.

World Bank-backed insurance schemes to help poor countries tackle pandemics quickly have not paid out despite more than 1,800 people dying of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo over the a year ago, the second-worst outbreak on record, according to Reuters.

Efforts to control it have been hampered by militia violence, while emergency responders have struggled to win the co-operation of affected communities, many of which are deeply distrustful of the government and a roll-out of medical strategies - supervised by security forces - that have clashed with local customs.

After the West African Ebola outbreak that killed more than 11,000 people from 2014-2016, the National Academy of Sciences declared that research in the midst of an outbreak was ethically and scientifically appropriate, and the present trial supports that sentiment, Fauci says.

The drugs will now be used to treat all patients with the disease in DR Congo, according to health officials.

"The news today is fantastic".

The therapies are just one part of a tool kit to stop Ebola outbreak, Diaz said.

Jeremy Farrar, director of British charity Wellcome Trust, said the breakthrough brings scientists a step closer to curing Ebola and developing a vaccine.

Health authorities in the Congo have halted an Ebola treatment study that began last November early with the good news that two of the four experimental drugs seem to be saving lives. The study aims to enrol a total of 725.

DR Congo's point man on Ebola voiced delight on Tuesday over the announcement that two prototype drugs have boosted chances of surviving the dreaded disease.

He added, "Now you can get the two best antibodies quickly to the people who need them".